“Locked Away But Not Defeated”

African American women performing resilience

Authored by: D. Barcliff Baptista Lori

The Routledge Companion to African American Theatre and Performance

Print publication date:  December  2018
Online publication date:  December  2018

Print ISBN: 9781138726710
eBook ISBN: 9781315191225
Adobe ISBN:


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The Chicago-based performance ensemble Matters of the Heart was established in 2009 by three formerly incarcerated women who collectively served more than 50 years in the Illinois state prison system for violent crimes. The ensemble wrote “Locked Up But Not Defeated,” a script based upon their personal experiences of life in a women’s prison. This chapter details how and why their script was revised and performed to de-escalate violence in their communities and communicate their capacity to overcome the stigma and estrangement of incarceration to broader publics.

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